As the army prepares to shed 20,000 jobs, by 2020, as part of the Armed Forces Redundancy scheme, many soon to be ex servicemen will be fearful of what the future may hold for them career-wise. However, Lighthouse Group CEO Malcolm Streatfield believes that the financial services sector could benefit from an injection of fresh blood, courtesy of the MoD’s cull.

Malcolm said, “We have lost 10,000 people from the advice sector in the past 18 months, partially due to regulatory change within the sector, and that knowledge gap needs to be filled. The key characteristics and core competencies of a good professional financial advisor are intrinsically linked to the qualities that form the base foundations of a good competent member of the armed forces. In both careers it is essential to be disciplined, determined and have great attention to detail, so the potential is there for ex serviceman to be retrained and for them to enjoy a long and successful career as a professional financial adviser.”

Ex Flight Sergeant Andy Stafford-Smith, swapped a career in the armed forces for the financial services sector in 1995, after 20 years service, and has enjoyed tremendous success thereafter. The LighthouseGroup plc, professional financial adviser believes that many of those leaving the armed forces would be tailor made for a career in the financial services sector.

Andy said, “After completing 20 years service including 2 overseas tours, 2 tours on VIP duties and having reached the rank of Flight Sergeant, I decided to exercise my option to leave the RAF. Having done so, I had to decide on what career path I wanted to tread. I knew that I had discipline, drive, ambition and I enjoyed problem solving. In addition to that I enjoyed meeting people, didn’t particularly want fixed hours and I wanted the opportunity to have some control over my earnings. After attending a resettlement course on financial services, I decided that this career path met all of my criteria and so the journey began.”

Andy continued, “I am now aged 59 and have really enjoyed the challenges, and rewards, that this profession has given me. In hindsight, it has met all my expectations and more. I have had a really fulfilling relationship with my clients who, in some cases have become like an extended family. My career in Financial services allowed me to utilise many of the skills that I learnt in the services, it is a profession that would suit most ex-service personnel,  who, fundamentally enjoy a challenge and are used to being with, and around people. Strange as it may seem to the uninitiated, it provides a camaraderie that many miss when the leave ‘the Mob’.”

Malcolm concluded, “Andy is a glowing indictment of what can be achieved when the opportunity to retrain is granted to someone possessing the core skills necessary for success. I’d implore those who are currently considering their career options, to think seriously about a career as a professional financial adviser. We, at Lighthouse, have a professional academy and a commitment to continued personal development and performance excellence, and would be happy to welcome many on board.